Trump has gone back and forth in confirming, then canceling, a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin — just as Trump's former fixer made a deal to reveal Trump's Russian secrets to Robert Mueller.
Trump announced that he has canceled a planned meeting with Vladimir Putin — after threatening to cancel to meeting, then saying it would go forward after all, and then ultimately canceling at the last minute.
The series of erratic announcements also coincide with the news that Trump's former lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, has struck a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller, and has spent more than 70 hours in interviews with Mueller's team discussing subjects that include Trump's ties to Russia.
Trump first floated the idea of canceling the meeting with Putin in an interview on Tuesday with the Washington Post, citing the recent clash between Russia and Ukraine.
Russia has captured three Ukranian naval ships, along with their crews, an action that has been condemned around the world.
"Maybe I won’t even have the meeting," Trump told the Post. "We’re going to see, depending on what comes out tonight."
Then on Thursday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the meeting was on, and that Trump's team had "confirmed" it.
Trump echoed the Russians as he made his way out of the White House on Thursday morning on the way to the G20 summit in Argentina, telling reporters that the meeting would "probably" go forward.
But just hours later, he tweeted another reversal.
Citing the Russian aggression toward Ukraine, Trump wrote, "I have decided it would be best for all parties concerned to cancel my previously scheduled meeting."
Shortly before this, it was announced that Cohen had entered a plea deal, admitting that he lied to Congress about Trump's pursuit of a real estate deal in Russia.
In an interview on MSNBC, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) pointed out that Trump had agreed to the meeting with Russia even while he and the world knew about the incursion against Ukraine.
"This president showed no inclination to step away from the meeting with Putin," Warner explained.
"Now you've got one more shoe dropping in terms of his closest personal attorney's lying about ongoing connections with the Russians during his campaign — I guess I understand why Trump would cancel the meeting."
During his last meeting with Putin, Trump chose to openly side with the Russian leader against American law enforcement.
Trump publicly accepted Putin's assertion that Russia didn't interfere in the 2016 presidential election, despite evidence to the contrary from multiple U.S. intelligence agencies.
Now, as more information is coming out to further implicate Trump and his campaign's interactions with Russia, Trump is taking yet another strange turn in his approach to U.S.-Russia relations.
Thanks to this scandal and his ongoing attempts at a cover-up, it's clear that Trump cannot credibly deal with Russia, a major foreign power and global adversary, like other presidents have been able to.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.